The Knicks were the early leaders in the first quarter, but Charlotte eventually took their first lead about midway through. Dwight Howard was the early aggressor on offense, scoring eight points in the quarter. Kaminsky scored five straight points, and Charlotte took a six point lead heading into the second.
Things went better than expected in the second. Nicolas Batum played a big part early by playing aggressively. He knocked down a couple of shots, and actively looked for teammates for open looks. As the quarter ticked on, Kaminsky continued rolling, going 6-for-6 and making three 3’s in route to 15 points. Charlotte’s ball movement was excellent, and they pushed their lead to 23 with about three minutes remaining in the half.
Aside from a poor last minute to the half, the Hornets looked really good. The bench scored 27 points, and the Hornets as a whole benefited from New York’s lack of perimeter scoring (they made just one 3 in the first half).
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist provided energy early in the second half. He hustled for an offensive rebound scored the bucket, then went coast-to-coast for an And-1 layup a possession later. The effort squashed a potential run from the Knicks, and pushed the their lead past 20 again.
Charlotte maintained its 20 plus point lead throughout the 3rd. The highlight undoubtedly came from Howard, who reverse slammed it after blowing by Kyle O’Quinn:
The Hornets lead by 24 at the end of the 3rd. Aside from Kaminsky missing his first shot, the 4th quarter went smoothly.
Charlotte was by far the better team for the first time in quite a while. Without Kristaps Porzingis, the Knicks lacked a killer instinct. Charlotte took full advantage and did well to maintain a lead of 20 points or more.
Along with Kaminsky’s strong performance, Kidd-Gilchrist finished with 15 points and 10 rebounds, while Dwight Howard finished with 11 points and 10 rebounds. Batum played aggressively in the first half, but somehow only finished with nine points. He did manage four rebounds and four assists, and went 4-for-7 from the field. It was a group effort, and it made up for just nine points from Walker, who continues to struggle shooting the ball.
Hopefully tonight’s win gives the team confidence to string some wins together before Christmas. They’ll face off against the Toronto Raptors next on Wednesday before playing the Milwaukee Bucks in back-to-back games.